Monday, January 31, 2011

A Day at the Park

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We had a random weekend of great weather here in Knoxville with temperatures reaching 60 degrees, so us along with everyone else in the city decided to take advantage of this weather and go to the park! I had only taken Ellie one other time earlier in the week to walk around, but this time Jesse came with us. We both got to exercise and then we had time letting her explore and WALK!! Here are some pictures and a little video from our park trip.











Friday, January 21, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

13 Months Old!


She's still changing! Each and every day, my daughter does something new or starts figuring something out - it never gets old. So, I thought I would share some of the changes since her 1 year update.

Ellie learning to use the walker
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1. She has started on her quest to be a walker. She loves using her walker from Grammie and Papa and she is getting much better at using it. We are still at the lots of steps before falling stage, but she is getting more and more confident! (1st and 2nd video taken at the end of December and the last two were taken yesterday)

2. She will wear shoes now! Thank God for Robeez - they were the only shoes she would wear for the last few weeks, but we have gotten her to wear some of her other shoes recently. Now, it's just a matter of keeping up with her size!

3. She has been basically weaned to whole milk. I still mix a little formula in because I don't have the heart to waste something so expensive, but I only have a little more to use.

4. She is a GREAT eater still and is eating more of our food as we break her stomach in gently. So far, no food allergies and with her having so many teeth, she can chew stuff really well.

5. She has started a 2 day a week program at Ridgedale Baptist Church and WE LOVE IT! They keep her from 9-2 in a room of 5 other kids her age (11 - 23 months) and it's already challenging her and helping her learn to walk. God definitely provided this program to us so I could still keep my teaching job and have her taken care of.

6. She is responding to questions a lot more like "do you want a snack?" or "do you want to walk?" and she will nod or say "yeah" (sort of). She definitely understands any words related to food, nap, bathtime, daddy, mommy, play, and some other phrases.

7. Ellie LOVES music and dancing to it. Recently, she has started doing a new dance move of shimmying her shoulders back and forth instead of just nodding her head or bouncing. Sometimes she even twists her arms around. We love her new move.

8. She is figuring out some of her new toys from Christmas and her birthday. We love watching her make sense of a new way to stack something or take something in and out of a "purse" or even pulling something apart and putting it back together.

A short clip of her taking her first steps

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Changes keep happening and sometimes I miss her being that little baby that snuggled all the time with us, but I can't help but love the stage she is in where she lights up when we walk in a room and gives us a big hug and smile! Thank you God for our little Ellie Belly!


Ellie walking in some shoes other than Robeez

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Ellie showing off on the walker now

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Snow Day










This winter, we've had more snow in Knoxville than we've had in a while. This week, we've had it twice and I took Ellie outside so she could experience a "snow" and step it in a little. It reminded me of when we did that back at Ft. Campbell a year ago. This time, she saw the snow, felt it on her, and even ate some! I thought I would put some pictures side-by-side so you could see how far she has come! :) Happy Winter!






UT Bowl Game

Jesse and I received some "date" money from the Mason's again and we decided to use it to buy bowl tickets. We had not been able to go to a UT home game at all this season (Jesse had a ticket to go to one but ended up in the hospital that day) so we jumped on the opportunity. UT played in Nashville at the Music City Bowl so we made it an afternoon/evening date with Jesse's mom who graciously babysat for us at the house. We headed over early so we had time to eat at where else but Joe's Crab Shack! We definitely crabbed it up after about a 45 minute wait with other UT fans! They even played Rocky Top a few times while we were there. Once we finished, we walked over the pedestrian bridge to LP Field. I had never been there and it was an awesome stadium - we even had a chair back in the bleeds! It was windy and cold, but we enjoyed the game. Unfortunately, the game ended differently than we wanted, but it was overall a good game. We drove back afterwards in time to get a few hours of sleep before our baby girl woke up. Overall, a GREAT DATE! Thanks, Mason's, once again...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Hardwick/Cragwall Christmas


My brother and sis-in-law arrived on Tuesday night before Christmas to stay with us for the holidays. My parents arrived the next day. So, with a house full of Hardwick's, we were able to spend lost of quality time together. Ellie was excited to see everyone and get all the attention. She definitely wanted to show off her latest tricks! Before my parents arrived, Jonathan and Jennifer got a little time of their own with Ellie and she was very happy to see them. She has really taken a liking to my brother and would want to go to him if he was in the room or she would smile a cheesy smile at him. Once my parents arrived, we all went out to a yummy dinner at Rafferty's and then called it a night. The next day, we hung out and watched Christmas movies, did a grocery run and had BBQ for dinner. Dad spent lots of time playing with Ellie and her new kitchen.





On Friday, Christmas Eve, we treated that like our traditional Christmas Day since my brother had to leave that night to get back for work. So, the morning started out with Breakfast Casserole and Monkey Bread, followed by presents around the tree with Jonathan and Jennifer. Then, we all got ready and went out to a late lunch at Cracker Barrel for our "Christmas Meal" instead of cooking it twice. I had to go to the church for worship team practice that afternoon so the family met up with me at church for the 5pm Christmas Eve service. Jonathan and Jennifer headed out after church and then we went home with my parents and had Italian Beef sandwiches for dinner. Then, Santa came to our house for the first time...

Christmas morning, we woke Ellie up and gave her the morning "sippy cup" of milk and as soon as she finished, she noticed Santa's visit and what he left. The excitement began! She went through all of her toys and checked out each new book. Then, she couldn't wait to try out her new walker/rider. We all opened our stockings and then ate leftovers for breakfast, followed by the opening of presents between the 5 of us. Ellie stocked up (and mommy hid some of the new toys to bring out later for sanity). Naptime for Ellie rolled around and we all took the time to get ready for the rest of the day. Mom and I hit the kitchen and got the ham and casseroles going. The Cragwall Clan came over about 2pm for our meal and we feasted on lots of yummy food! We all went upstairs and exchanged presents between the Cragwall's and then finished our visit with desserts! After all that, we all CRASHED!! It was great to host everyone in our new home this year and to be able to celebrate with both sides of our family at one time was amazing. The snow started to fall that evening and ended up giving us a white "day after Christmas when you shop for after Christmas deals regardless if it snows at 7am".
































To end this post, I find it only appropriate to use my Mom's quote of the year that we all got on an ornament to remember: "It's not about the presents...it's about HIS presence!"

Ellie Meets Santa

Jesse and I couldn't resist having Ellie meet Santa, more out of curiosity of how she would do in his lap. We took her to the West Town Mall and stood in line for a while. I met a girl who's husband was deployed with 4th Brigade from the 101st Airborne and she lived on post, but was just in town for the holidays to spend it with family. We finally made it to Santa and Ellie was excited! She did great in his lap and kept looking up at him. Enjoy the pics! :)

Ellie

Lilypie Third Birthday tickers